Some years ago, I read a magazine interview in which the initiator of an NGO that focuses on helping women with breast cancer talked about how a few women despite knowing the dangers of delaying treatment refused help. A follow up question by the reporter revealed that the women chose that option because their spouses would not accept their post- mastectomy body structure.
It may appear like an extreme situation but over the years in my interaction with quite a number of females, I have come to realize that some would do anything, absolutely anything to remain in a relationship or marriage and as a result of trying so hard not to rock the boat such individuals are more likely to end up as victims of domestic violence.
The immediate causes of violence in romantic relationships can usually be identified but the remote causes are usually more complicated to decipher as both parties who stay in such relationships have deep psychological scars. Scars that could come from conditioning by the society, unhealthy sexual desires, upbringing etc. I know females who are in abusive relationships because they don’t feel good enough. I know married males who are abusive with their girlfriends because they don’t know how to control their sexual desires and have the need to ‘punish’ the woman for making them cheat or for having another boyfriend.
As a Behaviour professional, my way of standing with victims is to use my skills to go beyond the surface to get to the root of the problem through trying to decipher how triggers can lead to specific behaviours. Such knowledge will enable victims and even perpetrators break away from such physically and/or emotionally abusive cycles.
However, like I inferred as a guest in a live radio interview that aired to provide more awareness for the sixteen days activism against gender based violence, one doesn’t have to wait till they are in an abusive relationship to understand their patterns, tendencies etc. as most people in such relationships never expected to be in one till the situation stared them in the face.
Prevention they say is better than cure.